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Phoenix Rally focuses on evolving air mobility

446th Airlift Wing Commander

Published: 09:17AM May 17th, 2017

I was recently able to attend the Air Mobility Command’s 2017 Air Mobility Command Spring Phoenix Rally conference at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and I’d like to share with you conference highlights that are relevant to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community.

Throughout the weeklong conference in April, AMC leaders discussed total force issues to include squadron revitalization, strengthening joint leaders and teams, pilot shortages, fleet management, civic engagement and the expeditionary and global responsibility of AMC and the mobility Air Forces.

During the conference, the importance of total force contributions to AMC operations was emphasized by AMC leadership.

Mobility Air Force operations span the entire globe — from Asia to Africa, Antarctica to South America — and involve a range of missions — refueling, airdrop, cargo hauling, humanitarian relief and presidential airlift. On average, an AMC aircraft takes off every 2.8 minutes somewhere around the globe, supporting a range of missions and partners.

“Evolving air mobility tomorrow … today” was the conference’s theme, and that’s what we’ve been spearheading here. Innovating how we support airlift options will allow the 446th Airlift Wing to partner with the 62nd Airlift Wing more effectively.

One recent example of this partnership is improving airlift support to the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic operations as part of Operation Deep Freeze.

The C-17 Globemaster III 2016-2017 season recently wrapped up, and the night vision goggle capability paired with increased mid-winter flying missions proved to be game changing for airlift support for Operation Deep Freeze efforts.

Despite the difficulty of operating in an austere environment, the 166 total force members deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, airlifted 1.8 million pounds of cargo and transported 2,992 passengers into the Antarctic logging 393 flight hours.

For six decades, total force military members have worked to evolve to meet today’s logistics requirements of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The Phoenix Rally agenda also included a civic leader panel to facilitate dialogue between military and civilian leaders while emphasizing the role civic leaders and honorary commanders serve as mission enablers.

The panel was very interesting, and it reminded me of just how supportive the local community is to JBLM. Their support touches every unit of this joint base through charitable donations during the holidays to supporting unit morale functions.

Strengthening the ties between civilian and military communities and educating key community members on issues we face here is a priority for leadership. Creating a culture of engagement is very important for commanders, and getting out to support local events is also always a very significant piece to supporting the local community.

Bringing together leadership at Phoenix Rally to discuss challenges fosters an environment that is conducive to change, and the call for a culture of engagement is another step in the right direction for the military community.